Just a Farm Girl

A few weeks ago when I received an invitation to join the fabulous Fillies here at Petticoats & Pistols, I had to read it three times before I could fully latch onto the fact that I was going to be a Filly!

From the first time these wonderful ladies asked me to be a guest on the blog, I’ve been so impressed with them and the great community they’ve built here. And now I get to be part of it!  It’s hard to picture this lil’ ol’ farm girl getting to hang out here, but I’m sure excited to be counted among the Fillies.

Circa 1970-something… me with a fawn our neighbor rescued

I’ve possessed a love of books, reading, and creating stories for as long as I can remember. I also loved growing up on a farm where my dad let me tag after him all the time. (You can find a few of our adventures together in Farm Girl – humorous takes on true things that happened during my childhood.)

In fact, he kept a blanket, one of my baby dolls, storybooks, and a supply of candy in the swather so I could ride with him whenever it was hay-cutting time.

While I trailed Dad like a shadow, I learned about rural life, country living, cowboys, and heroes.

Much of what I saw, experienced, and lived during my formative years is woven into the threads of the sweet contemporary and historical stories I write.  My 50th book just released last week, so I’ve had  many opportunities to incorporate a variety of details from my background, but there’s one thing I keep circling my wagon around.

The heroes in my books are often rugged guys who can be a little rough around the edges, but they generally hold a healthy respect toward women and stick to an unspoken code of chivalry we may never know or decipher.

While some may think these types of men exist only in my fertile imagination, I know they are real. Honestly, they continually inspire me.

My own beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller, is a great source of gallant deeds. Although he isn’t much of a talker, if I can get him to be serious for five minutes, he typically manages to say something that melts my heart. (But don’t tell him I shared that with you. I think that breaks rule #63 in the code.)

When I look for validation that the code is alive and well in others of the male species beyond Captain Cavedweller, I find it.

For example, I recently met a PRCA bull rider. He’d never seen me before. Didn’t know me from Adam’s off ox. In fact, he couldn’t be blamed if he was full of himself since he’s quite successful in his line of work. The opposite seemed true, though. When we were introduced, he quickly snatched off his hat, politely tipped his head, and called me “ma’am.” Respectful, kind, and genuine are words I could easily use to describe him. He couldn’t have been more mannerly if Miss Etiquette had been whispering in his ear.

In one of my contemporary romances, Learnin’ The Ropes, the bossy, crusty ranch foreman outlines what he believes to be the code all men should live by to the new greenhorn his boss hired.

The rules are as follows:

  1. Once you give your word and a handshake, it’s as binding as signing a contract.
  2. Never betray a trust.
  3. Never lie, cheat or steal.
  4. Treat all children, animals, and old folks like you want to be treated.
  5. Call your elders sir and ma’am.
  6. Treat women with respect and care.
  7. Always tip your hat to a lady and take it off at the dinner table and in church.
  8. Work hard and give your boss an honest day for your pay.
  9. If someone needs a hand, lend yours to the task.
  10. Respect the flag and our nation.
  11. Be clean – both on the outside and inside of your person.
  12. Never stop learning.
  13. Never make fun of someone who gave it their best.
  14. Never wear your spurs or dirty boots in the house.
  15. Fight fair, be brave, and stand up for what’s right.

Despite what others might say, the Cowboy Code rides on. I’m so, so glad it does.  I need those amazing heroes to counter the strong, independent, sassy women in the stories I write. A milksop hero just won’t do for them. Nope, not at all.

I think one of the reasons we love to read western romances is because the stories and characters are full of  strength, hope, and love. My new release, set in the Wild West town of Pendleton, Oregon, during WWII, centers on the theme of hope.

In the story, (based on the famous Doolittle Raid… did you know 79 of the 80 men on the mission were based at Pendleton? I should probably provide ample warning that I love researching historical details for my stories!) our hero, Klayne, is convinced he’s going to die on a secret mission. Desperate to leave something, someone, behind, he talks a rancher’s daughter into marrying him, in name only, of course. Too bad Delaney has far different plans…

As a thank you for joining us today, I hope you’ll download a free copy of Heart of Clay, the very first romance I wrote.

Easy-going cowboy Clay Matthews is a respected college professor. He’s the man family and friends turn to for help, or when they need a good laugh.  Life would be almost perfect if he could figure out the mysterious, mind-boggling woman who was his wife…

Amazon – http://amzn.com/B0056QJHQ6
Barnes & Noble –http://tinyurl.com/heartofclaybn
Apple – http://itunes.apple.com/us/book/heart-of-clay/id464331140?mt=11
Kobo – http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/heart-of-clay

I’m also going to give away one autographed paperback copy of Learnin’ The Ropes with some fun swag.

To enter for a chance to win, please post a comment sharing one of your favorite childhood memories!


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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

69 thoughts on “Just a Farm Girl”

  1. Shanna- Welcome to the P & P, so glad you’re now one of the fillies. Your blog was wonderful. I’m downloading your 1st book, I’ve never read anything by you before, but now I’ll have to remedy that. One childhood memory was when I was young girl, 8 or 9, I too, shadowed my daddy. We were loading up after a rodeo, he had just finished roping his calf and I was following him back to the Trailer. I said ” Dad, look what I found!” He said, “Sis, watch out, it’s probably a red ant bed, don’t stand in it!”, well it wasn’t a red ant bed. It was a piece of silver sticking out of the ground and as I pulled on it, a full leather & silver bridle and reins, (the fancy kind parade horses wear) came out of the ground. It had been buried under the mud, at the time it was hot Texas dry, so no telling how long it had been in the ground. Loving my horses as I do, I was on cloud 9 finding such an amazing treasure. I still have that bridle and rein set today. Thanks for sharing your blog. I loved you picture with the fawn.

    • Hi Tonya! I’m so happy to be here with all you awesome fillies! What a wonderful story from your childhood and what a find! So neat you still have the bridle and rein set. I bet you smile every time you look at them. Thanks for downloading one of my books. I hope you enjoy it! Best wishes and many thanks!

  2. I loved your post. For a favorite memory. We used to camp a lot when I was young. Once we camped at Yellowstone. We left some things out and the bears came. Our collie got out and chased and then my father had to chase the dog.

  3. Welcome to P&P. I enjoyed learning about your childhood growing up on the farm. Some of my favorite things that I did when I was growing up was spending time on my grandparents farm. They grew fruit and vegetables, no animals. My favorite part was helping pick strawberries and selling them from along the roadside. I would usually eat more than my share while I sat there.

    • Hi Janine! Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here! Oh, those sun-ripened strawberries, warm from the summer sun… nothing tastes quite as sweet! Thank you for the welcome and sharing your childhood memory. I bet you have many happy memories from your grandparents’ farm.

  4. Welcome to P&P, Shanna! I love your post! I, like you, took many a step along side my Daddy. Every Saturday, whether to the barber shop or the gin, off we would go. I remember one of our fishing trips, Daddy caught a big fish and it got off right at the edge of the water. Daddy took off right into that water, splashing and searching and came up with his mighty fish in both hands. I will never forget it! My daddy will be 89 in a couple of months and he plays golf nearly every day. He’s a dandy!

    • Hi Melanie! Your daddy sounds a lot like mine (who is in his 80s, too) – and I also think he’s a dandy! I love the memory you shared about your dad charging into the water to get the fish. So fun! And I love that you tagged after your dad! Sweet childhood days, for sure!

  5. Happy new beginnings here! Loved the trip down memory lane.

    My favorite childhood memory? *thinking* One is sitting next to my dad, him listening to me read, and then teaching me to read in my head. Haha. I think he wanted to read his book too and my reading out loud, while he loved the fact I wanted to sit next to him pending time together, was distracting him. He was a cop in a big city suburb, so quiet time together like that was precious.

    Thanks for the chance to win, and for the fyi on your free book.

    • Hi Michelle!
      Thank you for stopping by today. And thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory. That is awesome your dad helped you learn to read and to read to yourself. (And thank you to him for his service on the police force.) Hope you enjoy Heart of Clay!

  6. I also followed my Dad around. He was a logger, and pulled the logs to the landing with a team of horses (around 1945). In the evening I would get to ride one of the horses back to the barn.

    • Hi Estella! Oh, that is awesome you helped your dad log and got to ride the horses back to the barn. I bet you looked forward to that ride all day. Thank you so much for popping in today!

  7. Cowboys who live by “the Code” may be harder to find, but they are still out there. And that’s a good thing!

    One of my favorite childhood memories is of baking cookies (I think with one of my aunts). My job was to roll the Snickerdoodles in the cinnamon and sugar and plop them on the pan. I took my task literally, and we ended up with some very flat cookies! We laughed before changing the directions to “set the cookies on the pan”!

    • Hi Sarah!
      That’s such a fun memory. I can almost smell the cinnamon this morning! And I agree, there are those who live by the code out there, and it is a wonderful thing! They keep us romantics dreaming up new stories.

  8. We were raised in the country near the river. I can remember going fishing with my dad. I still love to fish today but I never get to go anymore.

  9. Hi Shanna….Welcome, Welcome. Man, I’m excited about you putting your horse in our corral! I know we’re going to have some great fun. You wrote an exceptional blog today. We need to be reminded of the Cowboy code frequently. When I was growing up, my mom and dad (who were the furtherest thing from a cowboy) taught us kids these rules. Used to, everyone knew them. Not so much anymore. A lot of kids are raising themselves. A favorite childhood memory was going to the Pecos River. We’d camp out, fish, sit around the campfire talking and sharing family stories. Sleeping under the stars. Waking up to the smell of bacon frying. Those were good times. We were all together and love wrapped me in a warm blanket.

    Okay, now that you have your first blog as a Filly out, continue on. I can’t wait to see what else you bring to us. Love you, lady!

    • Hi Linda! Love and hugs right back to you, dear lady! Thank you so much for the wonderful welcome. I am so excited to be here with you all! I love the memory you shared. There’s nothing quite as delicious as waking up to the smell of bacon frying! Yum! The best kind of warmth is being wrapped up in love. And you are right about the code. Everyone used to know the rules, but not as much anymore. Thanks again, Linda!

  10. Love the cowboy code! It should be taught in schools! I’m so glad you will be at The P&P now!!!! One of my favorite childhood memories is Christmas times! My mom always made such a big deal about everyday in December! From the cooking to the Christmas music, to the decorating, it was always the best time of the year!

    • Hi Cori! So fun to connect with you here! Thank you for stopping by today. I love the cowboy code, too. I agree – teaching it in schools would be such a great thing! That is awesome your mom made the whole month of December special. I bet you have a treasure trove of wonderful childhood memories!

  11. Welcome to the fillies. I love the cowboy code, I was pretty much raised that way. In fact I had some ladies that got very upset with me, when I didn’t call them by there first name as an adult. I told them I have always known you as Mrs. (Fill in the blank). You are my elder and that is what I am suppose Tp call you.
    My favorite memory is after bathtime, getting to snuggle with my daddy as he read a bible story and prayed with us before going to bed. The other favorite memory was getting to go with my daddy on his job. His job was night watch man at Northwest Nazarenes College, he had to go to every building and put a key in the wall. I was four the first time I got to go, and that was only because my mother had just had a baby, and I didn’t like that baby. I they bribed me, after all it was past my bedtime. BTW, I still didn’t like that baby brother.

    • Hi Veda, Thanks for for welcome. I’m so happy to be here. And that’s wonderful you were raised with the cowboy code. Oh, I just love your childhood memories, snuggling with your daddy and then going with him to work (I have some cousins who attended college there!). Oh, that baby brother… Thank you for popping in today!

  12. A fellow farm girl here! I adored growing up on the farm. Cows, hay, tractors, sunsets, corn, barns and cats. My dad wasn’t too keen on girls being on the farm, thus he didn’t let me do much with him. That didn’t stop me! I bothered my 3 brothers instead and tagged along with them. We always got into so much trouble and fun up in the hay lofts. One time, when I was 8, my naughty older brother hid one of the barn beams in hay and told me to jump the hay pile. Well I missed and landed on that beam and got myself a black eye and swollen nose. That was just a part of farm life – dealing with those pesky siblings while still having each other’s backs when it came down to it!! I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Thank you for bringing back the memories of the best way to grow up! The Cowboy Code is being instilled in my son – it needs to live on. 😀

    • Hi Susan! So fun to swap howdies with another farm girl! Thanks so much for popping in today. That’s so great you had three brothers to tag after and teas and torment! Shame on the one for letting you jump on that beam! (I’ll have to share the story of my brother strapping me on old skis and pushing me down a hill sometime.) So glad you are instilling the cowboy code in your son. I love it!

  13. My favorite childhood memories all seem to involve some mischief or other my siblings and I got into. One time we “waxed” my mother’s kitchen floor with shortening so we could slide across it like they do in the movie Candleshoe. Somehow managed to get that all cleaned up before she got home though. She didn’t find out about it until years later when my sister and I were giggling about the incident. Oops. 🙂

    • Hi Jess! Thanks for connecting with me here. So fun to see you! Oh, my gracious! That must have been a mess to clean off the floor, but so good of you to get it done before your mom came home! (And I loved Candleshoe, too!)

  14. I do like that code. Very good rules.
    I’m a country gal too. Bet you never picked cotton in Oregon? I did when I was in grade school then everyone started getting mechanical cotton pickers.

    • Hi Brenda! I can honestly say I never picked cotton in Oregon. Rocks and weeds, and even strawberries, but no cotton. So nice to connect with another country gal! Thank you so much for stopping by today!

  15. A Fav memory… visiting my grandparents and helping with their garden… I loved helping them pick the beans, strawberries, tomatoes, etc.

    • Hi Colleen! Picking produce in the summer sunshine with grandparents – always a fun memory! I have some of those, too. My grandpa had a big apricot tree and he’d hoist me up so I could pick them when I stayed at their house. Thanks for stopping by today!

  16. Hello! I love your blog, and I love that your stories are based a lot on the experiences you had growing up. I grew up on a farm for a few years, I even had a pet calf. One of my favorite childhood memories is going to the Oregon Coast. I remember one time my parents woke us up in the middle of the night and said we were going to go, they already had the car packed and everything. I loved those trips. 🙂 I love your books and the values that are portrayed in the stories.

    • Hi Britney! Thank you so, so much for connecting with me here. Oh, that’s so fun you had a pet calf. I had many of those over the years. What a great childhood memory. You must have been so excited to wake up and get to go on a trip like that. Just awesome! Thank you so much for reading my books and being so awesome!

  17. My dad was a farmer. His main job was being a turkey farmer, but he also raised cows and pigs and alfalfa etc. as a side hobby and business. My favorite memories with my dad when I was a child was going to the the feed company in the big green dump truck to get feed for the turkeys. I remember how the truck seemed to bounce along, and we would have to drive on to the scales and wave at the nice lady. Also at the feed company, they had a hardware store where we could get drinks, candy, or icecream. So my favorite memory is going with my dad in this big green dump truck and my dad buying me a candybar–usually sugar babies or sugar daddy. I can’t remember the name of the chocolate that was my favorite–it was kind of in a tube and the chocolate was similar to kisses except thinner. Anyway, I loved tagging along with my dad and getting a treat from the hardware store. (maybe that is why I am fascinated with hardware stores). I was just reading “love at the 20th yardline” where the calf is sucking on Brody’s hand. I have done that many times, and love it. Another memory I have is when I was grown and earning my own money, I went with my dad to the auction. On the spur of the moment I decided to buy my own calf so I bid and bought my very first black Angus. I named her Queen Elizabeth (Lizzy) and when she had a calf I named it Princess Victoria. (of course living in an apartment and teaching school, was not exactly the place to be raising cattle, so my dad took care of my cow and her offspring–thanks dad) Shanna, you’ve heard from me before and know that I love all of your books. I am a farmer’s daughter and maybe that is why I love you and your books, cuz I relate. I already have “learnin the ropes” but would love any other book. I have digital copies of all of them but would love to have paper back copies. Thanks for your blog post. I often wondered if Captain Cavedweller was actually the kind of man you describe in your books, that cherish and treat women well. I know those men exist but it is too often we see men who are just the opposite. My own captain cavedweller believes many of the rules you listed. He is a hard worker and people trust him and respect him.

    • Hi Tammy!Thank you so much for visiting Petticoats & Pistols today and sharing about your growing up years on a farm. That is so fun you used to go with your dad to get feed and the hardware store was a special place! I used to go with my dad to irrigate and we often drove past the little country store in our community on the way there. Daddy always stopped and let me pick one thing – sometimes it was a bottle of cold Coca Cola, sometimes an ice cream sandwich, sometimes candy. He was (and is) so patient and caring. Great to grow up with daddies like that. And I love that you had a pet calf you bought at an auction! How fun (and the names are great). I’m so glad you enjoy my books and relate to the rural aspect of them. For me, it’s so fun to incorporate my background and experiences into the stories I write. And I’m so glad your hubby is one who lives the “code”, too. So appreciate you, Tammy! Thank you!

  18. fav memory, making cookies with my mother,mom made lots of treats for Christmas. this is another place to see what you are doing , glad i checked it out. looking forward to more stories.

    • Howdy Patricia! Fun to see you here! What a sweet memory of making cookies and treats for Christmas! Love it! And yes, please do check back to see what’s happening here on P&P!

  19. Wonderful memories of going with my family when I was young to a fishing camp in the summer. Fishing on a small motor boat with my father, catching the fish, then my mother had the honor of cleaning the fish everyday and cooking this tasty meal for supper. The cabin was rustic, wood stove, no plumbing and just a simple and wonderful week away from the city.

    • Hello, Sharon! What a fun trip for you and your family (although I don’t envy your mom cleaning fish every day!) So fun you had that opportunity to get away and enjoy fishing and a rustic life.

  20. One of my favorite memories as a child was learning to sew with my grandmother. I didn’t do much but I watched her a lot. She had a box filled with buttons and I would play with the buttons every time we went to visit her and grandpa.
    My grandfather was wood worker and I would go downstairs to watch him work and talk to him. He made me a desk, both my brother and I the most unique toy chests. Mine was the engine of an old train. You would have love my brothers which was a WWII ship with guns that moved and was huge and it was a great place to hold toys but it was a wonderful piece of woodworking with so many movable parts and fun to play with. My brother would push me around the basement on my train toy chest. I loved going to their house and grandma also had a baby grand piano and I would attempt to play. It was made in the late 1800’s and I have that piano mom moved to Colorado from Michigan for me as I wanted it even if I don’t play it. It is so sentimental to me I wanted it.
    I loved my grandparents, the only set I ever knew. Grandpa also had me play Little drummer boy every Christmas.

    • Hi Dorothy! So happy to see you here today! Wow! It sounds like you had an amazing set of grandparents. That’s wonderful he made you those toy boxes. And I’m so happy you have that piano. Sometimes we just need to hold on to those sentimental pieces because they are tied so closely to our hearts. Thanks for sharing your memories with us!

  21. My sister and I with my parents driving to Niagara Falls, and them Stratford, On. for our summer vacation which I still remember vividly. Such an experience since we rarely did travel at all. Seeing plays, staying at the falls, and the small town experience when it was new and not a huge tourist attraction yet.

    • Hi Anne! What a wonderful trip for you and your sister to experience and remember. I’ve never been to Niagara Falls but it’s on my list of “want to see” someday! Thank you for stopping in today!

  22. I have very fond memories of riding my bike with friends and alone during the summers of the 1950’s when life was simpler, safer and totally different. We rode around the city exploring places, visiting friends and spending the day out enjoying our freedom and time.

    • Hi Pearl, I bet you had some wonderful experiences during those sweet childhood summers. My brothers were born in the 1950s and their childhoods were so different than mine in the 1970s. So glad you could explore and adventure and enjoy that simple time in life.

  23. many days and nights spent on horseback or just in the pasture reading under the shade tree with my horse!

  24. Loved your blog, but I’ve loved everything you’ve written so far! And one of my most favorite childhood memory was when I was 14 going on 15, when my parents took us to visit our grandparents in Zacatecas, Mexico. It was very special because it was the first time we were meeting our grandparents and also visiting our parents hometown. I loved that special time that we got to spend with them, especially now that they are gone, I will always have those memories of the time I spent with them!

  25. Loved your blog, but I’ve loved everything you’ve written so far! And one of my most favorite childhood memory was when I was 14 going on 15, when my parents took us to visit our grandparents in Zacatecas, Mexico. It was very special because it was the first time we were meeting our grandparents and also visiting our parents hometown. I loved that special time that we got to spend with them, especially now that they are gone, I will always have those memories of the time I spent with them!

    • Hi Alma! Thank you so, so much! What a wonderful memory to share and how fabulous you got to make that trip and meet your grandparents and see your parents’ hometown. Sweet memories you will always treasure!

  26. Congratulations on becoming a Filly!! One memory — My grandparents had four big cherry trees in their backyard, and I always loved it when we visited during picking season. My cousins and I would spend hours in the trees, picking, and eating, and eating some more. And we always tried to see who could climb the highest. Often Grandma was right there with us. Legend says that she could climb to the tippy tippy top of the trees. We all believed it, even if we never saw her go quite that high.

    • Hi Shannon! Thank you for dropping by and for the congratulations! I’m thrilled to be here. And I love the memory you share. I bet your grandma could climb up to the top! So fun! Thanks, again, for connecting with me here. So appreciate it!

  27. Welcome to P & P, Shanna. You have joined a great group of ladies.
    I love that you have set a series during WWII. More authors are adding that era to their historical writing menu. It offers so many great possibilities for good stories. Garden of Her Heart sounds good too.

    After reading Shannon H.’s post I had to smile. It must be a grandmother thing, but I, too, used to climb trees. I would climb as close as I could to the tops of the tall narrow ones. I could get them swaying back and forth. Nice to be up high and be able to see so much around you. The boys in the neighborhood would chase the girls (often throwing rocks). None of them ever tried to climb up after me. I think they were all afraid to go that high. They never knew what they were missing. Of course, now I wouldn’t be able to get off the ground let alone climb up very far. Age and an uncooperative body make us miss out on things we used to enjoy.

    • Hi Patricia! Thank you so much… I have joined an amazing group of ladies here. I love researching and writing the WWII stories. I have plans to write several more in that series. And that is awesome you used to climb higher than even the boys would go. How fun! Even if age keeps you on the ground, at least your memories can soar. Thank you for popping by today!

  28. Unfortunately no horseback riding or western memories for me. I do remember going to the beach with my large extended family and having a cookout. That was super fun and still memorable after 35 years.

    • Oh, that sounds like a wonderful memory! We went to the beach a few times when I was younger, but being able to have a cookout with your extended family must have been a blast! Thank you for stopping by and sharing a memory!

  29. Welcome Shanna! One of my favorite memories is going with my Daddy on his milk route. J
    He delivered bottled milk to both stores and homes and he traveled all over our county. Every summer I was able to go one time as he delivered to the Western part of our county. After we had served a small grocery about 15 milesout, I can still remember riding back to town and eating Vienna sausages and crackers and drinking chocolate milk. I will always treasure these special times!

    • Hi Connie! What a wonderful memory to share with us. And you’ll laugh, but I sometimes used to ride with my dad in the semi truck when he delivered loads of hay, and we’d eat Vienna sausages and crackers, too! So glad you had those special times with your dad! Thank you for stopping by today!

  30. Hi Shanna! My favorite memories will probably make you shutter (I am reading Just A Farm Girl now). I loved going out to milk our fifteen goats every morning and night. Also making the butter and cheese from it.

  31. Hi Peggy! Oh, goats! (Hope you are enjoying Farm Girl!) As much as I’m not fond of goats, I do love goat cheese. That’s so awesome you got to make butter and cheese from the milk. Thank you for sharing that memory with us, and thanks for stopping by!

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